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SYFY WIRE Back to the Future

Tiny Back to the Future Easter Eggs You Almost Certainly Never Spotted Finally Revealed

Andrew Probert, who also pitched in on the look of the DeLorean, got the Mike Wazowski treatment not once, but twice!

By Josh Weiss
A hand holds a glass tube while a person in a protective suit points a camera at the hand in Back to the Future (1985).

Before Mike Wazowski, there was Andrew Probert.

The Hollywood veteran became an unintentional antecedent to Billy Crystal's oft-obscured Scare Floor employee while working as a storyboard artist and concept designer on Back to the Future (now streaming on Peacock alongside its two sequels).

"I noticed that a lot of the crew members were having their names put on the Hill Valley storefronts," Probert recalled during a recent Zoom interview with SYFY WIRE. "So I said, ‘It would be a real treat for my dad [to be included]. He owns a music shop and could you have Probert’s Music Shop somewhere?’ [The art director] ‘Nope, can't do that.’ I said, 'Well, how about a Probert’s Art Store?’ [They said] ‘Nope, we can't do that.’"

How Back to the Future storyboard artist tried to hide his name in two props

Rather than admit defeat, however, Probert decided to take matters into his own hands by hiding his surname in a pair of props he'd been tasked with designing. The first was the "Space Zombies from Pluto" comic book Pa Peabody's son (Jason Marin) holds up shortly after Marty (Michael J. Fox) travels back to 1955 in the UFO-looking DeLorean time machine. 

Unfortunately, the Easter egg didn't work out as planned.

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"When I was asked to do the comic cover, I knew that artists of the day had a signature box that they would put in the artwork," Probert explained. "And so, I put my name down like any of the artists of the ‘50s in a signature box in the lower right-hand corner, knowing that they're going to do a close-up on the cover, right? What I didn't realize was that they were going to hold the comic with his thumb on my name. It was hilarious. Whenever you see the film again, notice that."

The second item containing Probert's last name was the "Darth Vader" book jacket for George McFly's debut sci-fi novel, A Match Made in Space, featured in the last few minutes of the movie. Yet again, the artist was thwarted. "I thought, 'Okay, this will be my chance to get my name on the screen.' I put my name on the spine of the book like any author would. The mother picks the book up out of the box, looks at the cover, and then flips it over to the back so fast. My name is on screen, but it's a blur." 

When we mentioned how frustrating this must have felt at the time, Probert waved it off, good-naturedly, stating: "It’s no big deal, but it was just funny coincidences in both instances."

The complete Back to the Future trilogy is now streaming on Peacock.

Originally published Nov 9, 2023.